Meet Cookie (on the left), Loki (eyes closed) and Thor (eyes open on the right).
Cookie was a feral we started feeding outside almost two years ago. She was a wee, timid little thing who heard about the free food and came to check things out. We knew we couldn’t take her in at that point, so did what we could to keep her safe and alive.
Late last fall she started looking a little round in the midsection. Oddly enough, we hoped it was worms. Sometime during the early winter we noticed her hind end was a bit bloody, and she seemed a bit thinner. A few weeks later our concerns escalated as we learned she had a litter of kittens. How many, was the question.
Throught the rest of the winter and into the spring we tried to encourage Cookie (because she was “one tough cookie” living outside) to take up residence in the shelter we constructed on our porch. Unfortunately there was just too much traffic through the front door, so while she might hang out for a bit, she would not stay there.
Later in the spring we finally caught a glimpse of the two kittens that Cookie had. Naturally the response was gushing. 😉
Over the next few weeks we did our best to try socializing all three ferals. While Cookie remained timid, she was trying to make inroads with us. She’d ask for rubs and pets, and enjoy a brief touch, but then would suddenly realize that she was supposed to be feral and swipe at us (generally without claws).
The boys, whom we named Loki and Thor, were very shy and very curious. They would bravely mount the steps to our porch, but disappear in a flash if something startled them. Gradually, however, they allowed casual contact, but never for long. One of them was featured in “Little Hunter” earlier this year.
We knew the only hope for their survival was to get them fully socialized and into a loving home. It couldn’t be ours, but we knew it had to be someone’s.
As fate would have it, this would be one of the hottest summers in a few years, and the dynamics in our house would change…again.
The day after we had to take Belle in the temperatures were supposed to reach up into the 40’s. We could see the stress the heat was causing for the feral crew, so a plan was hatched.
Occasionally we had managed to get Cookie to come in to our breezeway to eat. That fateful morning we rigged a line from the outside doorknob, over the side of the porch and on to the driveway. Armed with our cellphones, wife in the garden holding the rope, and I in the breezeway putting down food then stepping back into the house, we waited.
Soon enough, all three cautiously entered the breezeway and began to eat. An urgent “Now” sent through the airwaves, and seconds later the door swung shut. Panic ensued, of course, as Cookie realized what had happened. Soon enough, they calmed down and settled in to wait.
Unfortunately we could not get them in to Fairmont until later in the afternoon, and as they day went on the temperature in the breezeway began to rise. Ultimately we decided to install them in the bathroom, where it was a bit cooler.
Fortunately the trip to Fairmont was relatively uneventful and all three were given a clean bill of health. Naturally they went in again a few weeks later for spaying and neutering, which is a story of its own.
Recently Cookie has felt comfortable enough to play in front of us and, as evidenced in the photo, hang out on the couch. Being feral, she is still unsure about us. We still can not touch her, but we think this all just a matter of time.
The boys, however, have adapted nicely. They are still a bit skittish if we move too fast, but they will accept lovings. Loki even demands that the pillow be moved so that he can hop up on the couch to snuggle with “Mum” in *his* spot.
It hasn’t been all fun and games, for sure, but it has definitely been worth it.